Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil. For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land.
Are you hot-tempered, easily angered? Just like other human behavior traits, temper has its place, as long as we keep it under control. How could we stand against evil if we didn’t get stirred up once in a while?
But for some, anger is an ongoing part of their disposition. The slightest provocation sets them off.
As Christians, we are to be controlled by the Spirit, and not our emotions. Our behavior is to be surrendered to the Lordship of Christ.
Hopefully, you don’t have a problem with anger, but if you do, there are Biblical principles to help you get it under control. This devotional can also be helpful for dealing and coping with angry people.
I have heard people try to vindicate their penchant for an angry disposition by pointing to Jesus’ display of anger in the Temple or the numerous references to God’s anger in scripture. “We are made in God’s image,” they say. Or, “God made me this way. I can’t help it.”
James dealt with such logic in his day and he dispelled that notion when he said, “… human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” (James 1:20) Scripture also tells us what human anger does. The Apostle Paul commanded early believers to get rid of anger. (Ephesians 4:31; Colossians 3:8)
(1) What anger does
-leads to sin (Ephesians 4:6)- Most often, anger causes us to say and do things contrary to the will of God. Anger results in ungodly behavior such as bitterness, rage, brawling, slander, malice, and filthy language. (Eph 4:31; Col 3:8)
-causes strife (Proverbs 30:33)- Our angry responses to people and situations lead to bitter disagreements and conflict. Consequently, relationships are damaged or destroyed, and our Christian witness is rendered useless. Words spoken in anger hurt others. “Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming…” (Proverbs 27:4)
(2) What causes anger
-argumentative spirit- People with an argumentative spirit suffer from the delusion they are always right. They selfishly believe their way is the only way. Challenges to their one-sided views result in angry encounters.
-provocation– Perpetually angry people need little provocation to become agitated. Misunderstandings, differing opinions, and irritating behavior produce hostile outbursts.
-other hot tempered people– When they encounter people who share their unfortunate angry disposition, trouble is inevitable and a fight, verbal or physical, is likely.
– jealousy– Jealous people often have a short fuse. They are overly offended at anyone who has what they have, what they want, or anybody who gets close to their valued possessions.
– frustration– People who have trouble controlling anger are easily frustrated. Whenever something doesn’t go their way, even small things, they lose their cool.
(3) How to keep anger under control
-admit you have a problem and confess it to God– As with any problem, nothing can be done about it until you acknowledge it. Then take it to the Lord. Ask God to take away this anger that is causing you to sin.
-identify your vulnerabilities– What or who sets you off? What personality traits or behaviors in others generally stir your anger? Why are you easily angered?
– give gentle responses– Just as “a gentle answer turns away wrath,” (Proverbs 15:1) a calm response helps you curtail your anger. If you feel rage building inside you, respectfully call a timeout. Retreat to another room or step outside until you have calmed yourself.
– it’s okay to disagree– You are not always right and you don’t have to win every argument. Just because someone has a different viewpoint doesn’t make you any less right. If you want your opinions to be respected then respect others.
– take time to consider your response– Allow your brain time to assess the situation, and the Holy Spirit opportunity to guide your thoughts. Restrict your words to those that honor God and not those that glorify self.
– grow in love– In 1 Corinthians 13:5, where Paul shares his famous instruction on the qualities of love he says, “It (love) does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” Then he concludes his teaching with the words, “Love never fails.” (v8) If you can’t respond in Christian love and kindness, keep your mouth shut until you can find a way.
– resolve differences quickly– We talked about this important principle in a previous devotional using Ephesians 4:26 as our focus text. “Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry…” Don’t allow your anger to fester. Whenever possible, seek to mend differences peacefully and quickly.
– pray (individual and corporate)- It’s impossible to be angry with someone when you’re praying with them and for them. And if anger again rears its ugly head, pray for God to take it away.
If you have trouble controlling your anger, then give it to the Lord. He will help you get it under control and bless you richly for your willingness to become the servant He wants you to be.
For more on this topic, check out this article: Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Your Anger
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 2 (April – June) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.